When it comes to cheap jazz basses, this tone signature is the most important thing you want to find. Next priority is the build quality followed by decent materials and hardware. Is it possible for a budget guitar? Absolutely.
Today, we are going to show you our recommendations for the 4 best cheap jazz basses on the market:
Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Electric Bass Guitar
- Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Mint Green Electric Bass Guitar
- Price: $199.99
- Price as of 08/14/2020 01:58 PDT(more info)
Here’s a great option from a name you can trust. Ibanez is known for affordable construction quality among both bassists and guitarists. The Ibanez Talman comes with both P and J-style pickups, giving you the versatility to take your tone whichever way you choose. The smooth look of the pickguard and finish are a nice touch, too.
The Ibanez Talman uses poplar for the body with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard. We especially like the wider, chunky neck. It’s comfortable to play and feels good in the hand. This bass also isn’t terribly heavy, weighing in at just under 9 pounds. It’s that combination of comfort and value, along with the attention to aesthetic detail, that puts this bass on our list. If you want the cheapest decent jazz bass you can find, this is it.
Ibanez 4-string Bass Guitar
- Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Brown Sunburst (GSRM20BS)
- Price as of 08/13/2020 14:24 PDT(more info)
Ibanez is a go-to name when you want well-built guitars and basses for a great value. This Ibanez 4-string bass is ideal for beginning players and students. It has a shorter scale and a relatively lightweight body, making it more manageable for small players and hands.
The neck is slim as well as short, too. This is great news for players of all sizes, letting you easily play fast lines without straining your fingers. The action is relatively low, too. It is a fixed bridge, so you won’t be able to adjust the action as easily as with other basses—a fairly minor complaint against an otherwise solid instrument.
As far as sound goes, this Ibanez 4-string bass is warm, with the full low-end response you want out of a bass. The poplar body does give it a bit more brightness than many entry-level basses, too, giving you a great tone throughout your range. Top to bottom, this bass is an excellent value for the price—easily one of the best cheap jazz bass guitars period.
Squier by Fender Affinity Jazz V String Beginner Electric Bass Guitar
- Squier by Fender Affinity Series Precision Beginnger Electric Bass - PJ - Olympic White
- Price: $229.99
- Price as of 08/14/2020 01:58 PDT(more info)
If you can’t go for the original Fender Jazz Bass, then the Squier has the next best thing. Their Affinity Jazz V is a very affordable version of this iconic guitar, which features authentic-feel components, decent performance, and also five strings. In terms of body style and general design, it’s a mirror image of the real thing. They have nailed the balance and overall feel of a classic Jazz bass, all while reducing the price to a point where it is more than affordable.
The Affinity Jazz V comes in a black or sunburst, while both variants feature a rosewood fretboard. Build quality and hardware are on the standard Squier level that has been proven numerous times by now, only expanded to accommodate for the extra string. When it comes time to plug this bad boy in, you will be greeted by a thumping tone of two rather authentic single coil pickups. Overall, great value for the money.
Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass
- Squier by Fender 306702505 Vintage Modified Jazz Bass '70s, Natural
- Price as of 08/13/2020 18:59 PDT(more info)
The last bass we want to show you is definitely bending the price range we were going for. However, it absolutely deserves to be on this list. After all, the Vintage Modified Jazz Bass from Squire is cheapest authentic version of the original.
The model we have previously mentioned is pretty similar but it doesn’t follow the Jazz layout completely. This one is the real deal. We are talking a solid maple body paired with a smooth maple neck, proper hardware, and a high level of detail all around. The Vintage Modified Jazz Bass definitely looks the part, but the real question is whether it sounds as good as it looks.
Indeed, it does. The sound is taken care of by a set of Fender-designed single-coil Jazz pickups. These have proven to be much better than expected, which is something that even the owners of the actual Fender Jazz bass will tell you. Fender did an awesome job with voicing the coils and achieving that vintage vibe. The end result is a relatively affordable slap machine that captures the essence of what made Jazz basses popular in the first place. If you can take the hit of a slightly higher price tag, the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass is definitely the way to go.
The Best Cheap Jazz Bass Conclusion
The impact of jazz bass is hard to gauge considering that it was a pioneer back in its prime. Fortunately for us, we live in a time where you can get a very similar performance on a budget. The main criteria we were looking for was that authentic Jazz Bass thumping tone. If you can find that without spending a lot of money, you are already ahead.
Next, we have the other side of the equation. You will want to get something that features good build quality, solid hardware, and an overall attention to detail. Finding all three of these is where things get tricky.
Fortunately, sticking to proven brands tends to work well. The Squier takes the cake in this niche market, which comes as no surprise considering that they are backed by Fender. You will be hard pressed to find a brand that can deliver a proper Jazz Bass tone better than Fender. After all, it is only logical.
The Ibanez models shown above, on the other hand, are great for the modern player on a budget. The Ibanez 4-string bass (see full specs) gives you the classic jazz sound with a bit of extra speed. The Talman (see full specs) is a winner for versatility, with both P and J pickups for more sonic possibilities. No matter which one of them you go for, you won’t be disappointed with these products, each of which can be dutifully called the best cheap jazz bass guitar.
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him